The Unorthodox Website Blog

Referendum and the Lib Dems


I was never enthusiastic about the referendum on whether to ditch our unfair ‘first-past-the-post’ electoral system for the AV (Alternative Vote) system, which is only slightly fairer. It seemed a very poor deal for the Liberal Democrats (who I voted for in the last General Election) who on this basis went into a coalition with the Tories in which David Cameron dictated all the policies, or so it seems.

I imagine now AV has been overwhelmingly rejected by those who bothered to vote at all the coalition will be very difficult to hold together since rebel Lib Dem MPs have little to lose by voting against the government line on policies which are opposed to Lib Dem ones.

The AV referendum was not only the wrong one with the wrong questions, but it was clearly held on the wrong day. The capital, London, had no local elections on May 5th, therefore very few people bothered to even vote.

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Osama Bin Laden Is No Longer In My Garden…


… they buried him at sea.  And good riddance. Not that he ever was in my garden, if I had one, which I don’t. The title refers to a charming poem someone wrote and read out once which went ‘I think Osama Bin Laden is in my garden, should I take him a cup of tea?’

Might just as well have done, it took so long to find him, yet he was right under their noses all the time where I always thought he was, in northern Pakistan. In fact very near the capital Islamabad. Does make you wonder if the Pakistani government really had no idea where he was hiding. Perhaps they were taking him cups of tea, albeit metaphorical ones.

I have no objections to a terrorist like Bin Laden being taken out or arrested (he refused to be taken alive apparently, which seems quite likely) though would have preferred it had been a UN force which did it, which is why I have long advocated a permanent world security force under UN auspices for these sort of operations.

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Changing Gay World


This blog is written from a British perspective, the history being quite different in other countries.

The modern gay world, Britain included as it has finally caught up with the advanced Western countries, includes civil partnerships, an equal age of consent and completely different ways for gays to meet each other than existed in the past.

When I came on to the gay scene back in 1967 there were few places where gay men could meet each other: basically the few gay bars/clubs in big cities, cottages (public toilets), cinemas and cruising grounds.

This was the year the Sexual Offences Act ostensibly legalized male homosexuality (lesbianism never being illegal). In actual fact it only legalized those already in a steady relationship who had a place of their own with no visitors staying overnight, who were both over 21 and neither of whom were in the armed forces.

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The Royal Wedding, Marriage, Civil Partnerships and The Monarchy


As a so-called ‘Diana Disciple’ (follower of Diana Speaks website  and her voice channel, Christian) you might be expected to think I was excited about the forthcoming royal wedding between William, Diana’s eldest son, and Katherine. Certainly Christian, who was staying with me when the engagement and then wedding was announced, expected me to show some interest at least. I’m afraid this isn’t the case. I wish the couple the best of luck, and marrying into that family Katherine will certainly need it, and I can understand that Diana would be very excited about William getting married.

I have never taken any interest in royal weddings, and I don’t see why this one should be any different. From what little I know Katherine seems a well-balanced woman and William seems to be a very sensible guy, and the couple genuinely in love.

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The Iron Curtain and the Berlin Wall


These two phrases refer to the closed borders between the Socialist countries and capitalist West. In the case of the Berlin Wall it actually encircled West Berlin, closing it off from the surrounding territory of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany). This was because Berlin was about 100 miles east of the West/East German border. West Berlin was a capitalist enclave deep inside the GDR, often described as ‘the thorn in the flesh of the GDR’.

The origin of the Iron Curtain and the Berlin Wall was, of course, the Second World War and the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. Once the War was over,  the USSR was determined it would not be invaded again by Germany.

In agreement with its Western allies, Europe was carved up between Soviet and Western spheres of influence. Most of the countries liberated from fascism and Nazi occupation by the Soviet Red Army were to fall in the Soviet sphere, but Berlin being the capital of Germany at the time, was divided between Soviet, American, British and French sectors.

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Ginger’s 60th


Me at Ginger’s 60th birthday bash, on the hard stuff (Coke!)

Doesn’t time fly? I remember when he had his 40th birthday party at the 59 Club. Don’t remember much about it, so I guess it was good. Anyway he had his 60th party down at Salfords, on the outskirts of Redhill in Surrey where he now lives with his partner, Angie.

It was a good do with Flying Saucers (one of my favorite British rock’n'roll bands) playing, and lashings of delicious food. Saw many faces I hadn’t seen around for ages. Only trouble was finding the venue, not in Honeycrock Lane as stated on invitations but in a road leading off it. Walked up and down Honeycrock with Angie’s son Gene for ages till her daughter Joanne and partner came to find us after Gene rang her.

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More Council Moans, and Apologies


Since the blog below was published and a link sent to Islington Council they have apologized, and the weeds have now been cut back. This is the latest email from the Council:

‘The weeds were removed from around the plaque yesterday and the shrub behind the tree was also pruned back. It does look a bit bare at the moment but will improve through the growing season.

Once again please accept my apologies for any distress caused by this.’

For the record, this is how the original tree looked in 1994:

And this is how it looked in 2008 (tree in blossom in background) 

 Original blog follows:

This time it’s Islington council where my partner’s memorial tree is planted in New River Walk. Originally it was in a section of neatly mowed lawn with flower beds in front and behind it.

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How Councils Waste Our Money….


This really does take the biscuit, but it’s a long saga which I’ll numerate below:

1. Wandsworth Council decided to replace the central heating system on all their properties on my Estate. This was certainly in the case of my flat quite unnecessary expenditure, the heating system was working perfectly well.

2. My boiler had been replaced two or three years previously with a brand new one, a combination boiler, and the old water tanks removed. New pipework was installed in the kitchen behind the units.

3. The council contractors insisted on ripping out the virtually new boiler, worth an estimated £1000, and the recently installed pipework in the kitchen and replacing the boiler with an almost identical model and also replacing the pipework, causing a leak in the process by not replacing a rubber seal. The water leaked into the flat below for the next 6 months or so till discovered.

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Finished at Fifty – Panorama program


This concentrated on four professional people who had turned 50 and who had virtually no hope of ever finding another job. I know the situation as 20 years ago my partner, only 48 when he died, faced exactly the same problem. He wrote off after job after job for 18 months and got one unsuccessful interview. In the program a professional ex-manager wrote off nearly 500 applications in 12 months and got just 8 interviews. That shows how older people are rejected before even the interview stage is reached.

My partner, however,  was not a professional, his line of work was obsolete – telex having been superceded by fax and email.  The various government agencies supposed to help people get back into work offered him no training whatsoever. He was very intelligent and wanted to get a degree in librarianship, since he knew a lot about literature. He was  offered no help or encouragement whatsoever.

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Lifetime Diary of a Rebel


I thought I’d list some of the memorable highlights in my sometimes rebellious life. Some of these actions I still fully approve of, others I don’t, but none do I really regret since life is a learning process, and we learn from our mistakes.

September 1961 – taking part in the Committee of 100′s mass civil disobedience sit-down demonstration in Trafalgar Square along with Bertrand Russell, Sheila Delaney, John Osborne and about 10,000 others. Too many for the police to arrest.

Easter 1962 – taking part in my first Aldermaston March, organized by CND, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

Early Summer 1962 – taking a full-time job at CND’s head office. I was there six years.

Easter 1963 – Defying my boss at CND and joining the anarchists and Committee of 100 supporters to divert from the Aldermaston March route to visit the top-secret government bunker (Regional Seat of Govermment in the event of nuclear war) at Warren Row.

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